Posts Tagged ‘Gibraltar’

Monday Medley

Posted in On This Day on August 4th, 2008 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

The Wrap Party:
I hope that you had a chance to see my premiere on YouTube. Of course, being only the writer, I am the least important contributor to the work. The real kudos must go to the clever animator Sue Amsbaugh and to the talented mimic Bob Kincaid (the Gielgud of West Virginia).

You should also read the shrill responses from Michael Savage’s fans. The bile-spewing commentator appeals to a very disturbed audience. At least while his fanatics are typing out their hysterics, they are too busy to torture small animals. By contrast, the Rush Limbaugh fan seems like Alastair Cooke.

On this day in A.D. 70:

If you had booked the Temple of Jerusalem for a wedding or a bar mitzvah, ask the High Priest for a refund. Either that, or ask the cater to set up some extra tables for a rampaging Roman army. On third thought, get the refund. The Romans destroyed the Temple. And don’t let the High Priest or your insurance agent claim that it was an act of God. After all, which God? I’d say it was Mars, although it took the War God and Rome four months to crush Jerusalem.

To commemorate this day, I will be eating spumoni ice cream. But for the Romans and their pacification policy of exiling the Judeans to Europe (where no doubt we would lose our identity), today I might look Yassir Arafat. (Worse, my wife might.) Instead we were forced to wade through some better looking gene pools. So, thanks Rome.

On This Day in 1704:

Austria gained control of Gibraltar. At least, the British claimed the captured peninsula on behalf of Archduke Karl, their candidate for the Spanish throne. Yet, the British somehow never did turn over Gibraltar; perhaps, they were waiting for the Austrian navy to show up. The British settled in and soon abandoned all pretense of acting for their Hapsburg ally. Of course, the Spanish and their French allies attempted to retake Gibraltar but they learned this lesson in military topography.
Attacking from the sea, you can take Gibraltar. Attacking from land, you can’t.

In 1713, with the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, the Spanish ceded control of Gibraltar only on condition that “no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar.” The British agreed but they did not order their immigration officers to check everyone for foreskins. And once the Jews and Moors were back, the British did not ask them to leave. (Irish Catholics would have been less welcomed.) Of course, Spain declared that this was a violation of the Treaty and used it as a justification for another war. But once again the Spanish attacked by land, with predictable results.

Spain–with French support–attacked again in 1782 and this time remembered to use ships as well as a large army. Good strategy but bad timing. The British had been preoccupied trying to restore order over some dyspeptic colonies in North America, but after 1781 had signed an armistice with the rebels. Britain was now free to thrash the Spanish and the French–which is exactly what happened.

Yet Spain would try once more. In 1808, with Spanish permission, Napoleon and his forces marched into Iberia with the understanding that he take Gibraltar. But there must have been a misunderstanding; Napoleon seized Spain instead. Add a cedilla to the irony, the Spanish needed the British to drive out the French.

(And Hitler offered to march through Spain to take Gibraltar. For some reason, Franco refused.)

Of course, Spain still demands the return of Gibraltar. Britain will probably schedule that a week after it returns the Elgin Marbles.